Early Signs of Diabetes

Diabetes is a fuel supply issue. When you move your fingers to scroll down this page muscle cells, nerve cells and brain cells must burn a little fuel to make that happen. Cells make that fuel from a supply of the sugar glucose that they have stashed away in their cellular pantry. When running low on glucose, your cells have a 24-7 supply constantly available in your blood. That glucose in blood — your blood sugar — comes from digesting carbohydrate foods.

There is an ideal amount of blood glucose your body wants to keep in balance. When there’s too much — a high blood sugar — your body wants to store the extra in a cell’s pantry. A special hormone called insulin delivers glucose to cells everywhere and sends those cells a signal to accept a glucose delivery. When this system to lower blood glucose isn’t efficient, the blood sugar level stays higher than ideal — that is diabetes.

Higher blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves, resulting in heart disease, kidney disease, vision issues, severe infections, numbness or pain in extremities and other diabetes complications. Higher blood sugars caused by a shortage or lack of insulin is characteristic of Type 1 diabetes. Higher blood sugars caused by errors in sending or receiving that signal between insulin and cells is called insulin resistance and is more associated with Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Healthy lifestyle behaviors such as monitoring carbohydrate intake, being physically active at least 150 minutes per week and managing stress levels are strategies for managing all forms of diabetes. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, you may also need insulin or other medications.

Importance of Early Diabetes Detection

Since diabetes can be managed, it is important to identify blood sugar imbalances as soon as possible. Routine screening is important to identify blood sugar imbalances early. For example, during pregnancy, frequent screening is essential to identify signs of gestational diabetes

. While some of the possible signs and symptoms listed below could be related to other conditions, they are common signs of diabetes. If you are experiencing any of these signs, speak with your doctor and ask for a blood sugar test.

[READ Meal Plans for People With Diabetes]

8 Common Signs of Early Diabetes

Signs of early diabetes include:

— Numbness in hands and feet.

— Frequent urination.

— Extreme thirst.

— Weight loss.

— Poor wound healing and increased infections.

— Blurred vision.

— Dental issues.

— Chronic fatigue or weakness.

[READ: Signs of a Hormonal Imbalance.]

1. Numbness in the hands and feet

Elevated blood sugar levels in your body associated with diabetes could cause serious damage to the blood vessels. Nerve damage

can cause numbness and tingling in feet or hands.

2. Frequent urination

For both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, frequent urination is a characteristic symptom. The body’s natural defenses cause increased urination to try to flush elevated blood sugar levels.. High blood glucose levels spill over into urine. The kidneys filter and reabsorb glucose in the blood, but when the levels of blood sugar are high already, the kidneys have reached their maximum and move the excess glucose into urine taking along water, which results in frequent urination.

3. Extreme thirst

Frequent urination and extreme thirst go hand in hand. When our body needs to get rid of excess glucose through urination, a person becomes thirstier. Feeling the need to drink a lot more water is an early sign of diabetes for this reason. It’s a vicious cycle. Dehydration can also add to the result of elevated blood sugar readings and add to feeling fatigued.

4. Weight loss

Quick weight loss can be a sign of Type 1 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, your body’s not making enough insulin to help regulate blood sugar and use the glucose for energy. When glucose can’t be used, the body breaks down muscle and fat to use as its energy source and weight loss occurs.

[Vitamin Deficiency: Common Symptoms to Watch For]

5. Poor wound healing and increased infections

An elevated blood sugar of 180 milligrams per deciliter or above can compromise your body’s ability to heal wounds. High blood sugar sets the stage of an unhealthy environment for wounds to heal. Healing is slowed because the immune system does not function properly, shortages of nutrients and oxygen prevent cells from properly functioning and inflammation


6. Blurred vision

Blurred vision can be a result of elevated blood sugar. Higher levels of blood sugar pull fluid away from the eye lens and cause the eye to swell, which makes focusing more difficult. The good news is that a person’s vision should go back to normal once the blood sugar levels are back to target range. If blood sugar management isn’t taken care of, an individual’s vision can worsen.

7. Dental issues

Having high blood sugar creates an environment conducive for plaque on your teeth and germs in your mouth to grow quickly. This can cause a variety of dental health issues. People often find their gums bleeding when they brush or floss their teeth, have bad breath or loose teeth.

8. Chronic fatigue or weakness

Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause fatigue. Blood sugar at both above target or below target levels can cause a person to feel weak or fatigued. Chronic fatigue can also be a result of a side effect from diabetes medications. Those medications, such as insulin or Metformin, can cause blood sugar to drop below target range and have the potential to cause a person to be tired because they aren’t getting enough glucose for their body to have energy.

Bottom Line

Listen to your body. Often many of these symptoms can be slow in progression or be shrugged off for another reason other than diabetes. Don’t hesitate to have your blood sugar checked. Early detection is helpful in getting diabetes treatment so that your diabetes can be managed. The good news is that diabetes can be managed through healthy lifestyle behaviors which, for some, may include medications.

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Early Signs of Diabetes originally appeared on usnews.com

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